Tragically Simple

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WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has little to say to outraged Italian officials after Tuesday's tragedy at an Italian ski resort, reports TIME's Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson. This accident was simple negligence. "There's no mystery here," he says. "The pilot never should have been down that far. It's a clear violation of the regulations."

But residents of the area have complained that ground-skimming U.S. military planes are a too-common sight. "Do these Rambos, these pilots, take our mountains for a "zone of operations?"' wrote Mario Rigoni Stern in Wednesday's La Stampa of Turin.

"The real question is whether this kind of flying--officially in violation--was winked at by the commanders at the U.S. base in Aviano," Thompson said. If residents' reports of bridge-buzzing and other stunts are not exaggerated, the U.S. military may have a big PR problem on their hands.